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Special show on the cards

Vishaal Kumar
Thursday, February 01, 2018

LOKGEET is commonly sung and heard by people around the country on various radio stations and special ceremonies and functions.

The history of lokgeet goes back to India, but in Fiji it's presence came with the arrival of indentured labourers and since then it has spread to every corner of the country.

Lokgeet are traditionally folk songs and different parts of India, from where they are derived, have different versions of performed according to local culture and tradition.

To mark the progress and significance of lokgeet, Procera Music Fiji will host the first Grand Lokgeet Hungama Night for those who have come to love folk singing.

Procera managing director Mohammed Akif said lokgeet was something people loved and held close to their hearts in the country.

Mr Akif said the common folk singing led to various local artists adding their own styles, techniques and flavour.

"We here at Procera saw how people love lokgeet and decided to put on a show of this kind for the first time," Mr Akif said.

"We had received a lot of feedback from the West and the North.

"We want to promote lokgeet in the country for the families, but also for the younger children.

"Before the shows used to be male targeted, but this show will be for everyone.

"This will give a chance to members of the public to come down and enjoy the music and entertainment."

He said people had been mesmerised by two top local lokgeet artists in Salen Prasad Pinky of Tavua, and Madhu Lata, formerly of Labasa, and audiences would get a chance to see these two artists performing together for the first time.

He said both artists were recipients of the best lokgeet awards

Mr Akif said people would get a chance to witness a guest artist, young lokgeet singer Shelin Kumar, who had been hailed as the sensational "Nadroga Princess".

"A lot of dance groups from Tavua and Labasa will back up these two singers. Folk dancers will perform to the tunes of lokgeet," he said.

"We tried to bring these artists to perform together before, but we couldn't because of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston and the event got cancelled."

He said Lata would perform for the first time live on the big stage because she previously sang at weddings, gatherings, parties and prayers.

Mr Akif said Prasad released two lokgeet albums with Procera, one of which was titled More Shina Gay Pradesh.

He said Lata released four lokgeet albums with Procera, of which two were named Shaher Beech Dulha and Dulha Laike Baarat.

Roneel Narayan of Radio Sargam, who expressed support for the event, said they were looking to promote the local artists and give them recognition.

"Both Madhu and Salen have been recipients of our top lokgeet artist awards and this is a good platform to see the best of them," Mr Narayan said.

"Local artists should be promoted and encouraged by the people of this country since it is part and parcel of our culture and traditions."

When contacted, Lata said she was looking forward to the event and was nervous since it would be her first attempt to sing live on stage.

"I have written lokgeet songs for the event," Madhu said.

"I have included some new and latest tunes to my songs so that people enjoy them. I will practise for two days prior to the event. I have never sang with a big music personality like Salen before.

"I will try to do my best."

Mr Akif added that compared with the 1990s, the local music industry had undergone major changes in the Hindi side of the industry.

"Before the young population used to love folks like lokgeet, bhajan and qawali. But now it is hard and this is where we have to promote these songs to them," he said.

Mr Akif said piracy contributed to younger artists moving away from their talents and hindered their chances of earning royalties and income.

"Because of technology, people can pirate compact discs (CDs) easily, download over the internet and Bluetooth songs and music over their phones," he said.

"The music industry now is really struggling because of technology and we are not protected like before.

"We struggle for the artists. The law is there, but cases of piracy take months or years to process and come to a verdict."

Mr Akif said so far the company had more than 500 artists involved with them, with more than 4000 catalogues or albums.

He said apart from the lokgeet event, they planned to stage similar shows for bhajan, qawali and a sigidrigi event as well.

The Grand Lokgeet Hungama Night will be held at Narere Primary School in Nasinu on February 10 from 7.30pm.

Vishal Kumar

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